Rock-bottom Saint-Etienne loses after late Lens goal

Lens' Seko Fofana reacts during the French League One soccer match between Lens and Olympique Marseille at the Bollaert stadium in Lens, northern France, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (Michel Spingler/AP)

PARIS — Saint-Etienne's French league campaign took a turn for the worse when it conceded deep in injury time and lost at home to Lens 2-1 on Saturday.

Rock-bottom Saint-Etienne has won only two games and lost 12, leaving it four points behind 19th-placed Metz.

Captain Seko Fofana curled the ball in brilliantly five minutes into stoppage time to give fourth-placed Lens another late win after an 88th-minute strike against Rennes last weekend.

Fofana is getting a taste for late goals, having equalized in the final seconds of a French Cup game against Lille this month _ which Lens won thanks to Fofana's subsequent winner in the penalty shootout.

No such joy for Saint-Etienne, whose 10 league titles are the most in France _ one more than Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille. Firing coach Claude Puel has made little difference for Les Verts, once one of Europe's most entertaining sides during the Michel Platini era.

Puel's replacement, Pascal Dupraz, saved Toulouse from relegation against the odds in 2017, and Saint-Etienne is looking just as bad this time.

This match started well, though, when midfielder Ryad Boudebouz put Saint-Etienne ahead in the 38th. Until substitute Florian Sotoca headed home from a corner in the 77th.

Later Saturday, PSG was looking to restore its 11-point lead when it hosted Brest. PSG was again missing Lionel Messi as he continues to recover from the coronavirus.

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